Recently the CSVC caught up with Tian Tian Feng (UG í11,) a Business Analyst
with Deloitte Consulting and alum of both the Grassroots.org Social Venture Consulting
extracurricular program as well as for-credit QUEST consulting class. Tian Tian
is currently tasked with overseeing planning and execution from the Deloitte side
on the upcoming Springís ďPackaging Your DeliverableĒ workshop. The workshop will
be our second collaborative Deloitte workshop, and represents a unique opportunity
for Center-specific consulting teams to access individualized guidance to optimizing
actionable final products for their clients.
CSVC: So where should we start. I guess letís go back to your
time as an undergraduate. You were a Smith student, yes?
Tian Tian: I was a double major in International Business and
Supply Chain Management.
CSVC: How did you first get involved with the Center for Social
Tian Tian: I guess I heard about the Center through the grapevine?
I had always been interested in going into consulting and spent a lot of time my
sophomore and junior year doing work with the Society for Green Business. However,
through that experience as well as my internships I had mostly worked with for-profit
CSVC: But you ended up doing a Grassroots.org Social Venture
Tian Tian: Well, I actually did two different non-profit consulting
projects later in my school career. One was with the SVC program, during that I
worked with the Maryland Theater For The Performing Arts.
CSVC: Can you tell us a little about that?
Tian Tian: Sure, it was awhile back though. So MTFTPA was trying
to scope out the building of a multimillion dollar public arts center in Annapolis.
They had actually already hired a professional consulting firm to do some economic
analysis, but we were assigned to additional market research and recommendations
based around comparables. So we did some digging around, looking at Annapolis versus
other regions, and created a group of case studies for them on organizations in
three other arts communities. One in Arizona, Chicago, and Minneapolis. In the end,
the resulting product was really helpful for the organizationís decision making
CSVC: Was it hard transitioning from for-profit to non-profit
in school? And I guess then again after you graduated?
Tian Tian: Thereís not really a difference between non-profit
and for-profit consulting, to be honest. Itís an organization with an issue in both
cases. So as a consultant, you need to follow appropriate processes, make sure you
have data that backs up your recommendations. In the end, itís just a business problem.
CSVC: You said you did two different non-profit projects while
Tian Tian: Yes, so I did the Grassroots.org SVC project as an
extracurricular, but I also took an Operations Management class through QUEST. It
was very much more curriculum-driven since we were in classes while doing our project.
We learned about specific processes and frameworks. Iíd say the main difference
between the two experiences was the level of independence we had with Grassroots
versus the in-class project. With the MTFTPA project we really had to self-regulate
and manage, whereas the classroom forced us to do things a certain way. There was
definitely value in both for me.
CSVC: Tell me how you got back involved with Center work now
that you are out there working.
Tian Tian: Well, I found out about this Deloitte workshop last
Fall from Ben [Note: Ben Kubic (UG í10) was instrumental with getting the ball rolling
for the CSVC-Deloitte workshop partnership] and just got really excited. Iíd worked
with the Center in the past, and I thought it would be beneficial on many levels
to develop a relationship between my past and present. So I came along to the event,
although I didnít actually participate. Actually I donít know if you guys knew this,
but everyone that sat down one-on-one with the student teams was at Senior Consultant
level or above. Anyways, I know everybody was really impressed that the undergraduate
and graduate programs even have something like this and we all enjoyed being able
CSVC: How do the sorts of values implicit in Center programs
play into your work place? Do you find opportunities for non-profit work, or with
Tian Tian: Well first of all, Deloitte definitely does a lot
of pro bono non-profit consultingó it just tends to be for larger organizations.
And they are even out there bidding against other consultancies to get teams on
those projects, thereís contract competition for 501(c)(3)ís. If youíre familiar
with the Urban Alliance, I know we do a lot of work with them. On the sustainability
side, the organization has a practice specifically devoted to sustainability and
although I havenít been out of school long Iíve been trying to get more involved
in that community.
CSVC: Do you stay tied to the Smith or Maryland community?
Tian Tian: I pretty much see my Maryland friends every Friday.
But separate from that, at work thereís a running joke that Maryland is starting
to take over a room at our office. Thereís a certain place where a lot of the business
analysts go for short breaks or coffee, and you walk in there and are just surrounded
by Maryland alums. Itís actually kind of great.
CSVC: What do you do for fun?
Tian Tian: What do I do for funÖwell I really enjoy food, definitely
a foodie. I go to cooking shows sometimes. And Iím sure you know we just wrapped
up the DC and Baltimore Restaurant Weeks, which is basically like Christmas for
me. So thatís been really good.
CSVC: Do you have any closing thoughts we didnít cover?
Tian Tian: Well, I really want to make sure I get across how
much I think the Center For Social Value Creation is a great program and Iím glad
I had the opportunity to participate in that. I learned so many applicable skills
that I use today, and Iíd encourage all students to take advantage of its programs.
CSVC: You donít have to say that, weíll still publish the interview.
Tian Tian: (laughing) No, Iím serious! Oh, and also another
thing I want to mention is teams. Itís kind of clichť that people in interviews
are always asking ďdo you have experience working in teams.Ē But to be able to honestly
say I have, that Iíve been able to overcome struggles and challenges that come with
team cohesion was really attractive to those employers. Also the fact that I had
actually talked to clients, had dug deep to understand not only what the client
was facing but what the industry was facingó that was gold. For the CSVC to offer
those experiences has been such a great thing for me as I start my career.